Zika is officially here, with fifteen confirmed cases in the Miami neighborhood of Wynwood over the past week. On Monday, the CDC told pregnant women not to travel to this neighborhood, marking the first time the government agency has issued such a travel warning within the United States.
It is likely Miami will see more local cases before that Zika outbreak is brought under control. And young couples are already beginning to wonder: should Christmas in Florida be canceled this year?
I posed that question to the CDC, whose response was a resounding “no”—or at least, “not yet.” “At this point I would not discourage anyone from changing their [holiday] plans,” CDC spokesperson Bert Kelly told Gizmodo, explaining that the travel advisory for pregnant women will hold until 45 days after officials see no more signs of local transmission. In other words, it’s just too early to say.
Kelly emphasized that right now, the Zika travel advisory is limited to the Wynwood area, and that the CDC is re-assessing the situation on a weekly basis. And as the weather gets cooler, conditions will become less favorable for Aedes aegypti, the heat-loving mosquito that transmits Zika. That’s not to say the virus will disappear, but it does reinforce the fact that things could be quite different five months from now.
Of course, Zika in Florida is an actively evolving situation, so it’s worth keeping up with the latest on the CDC’s website. Keep an eye on the calendar, too: if mid-November rolls around and a Zika travel advisory is still in effect, then pregnant women, their partners, and those thinking of getting pregnant within the next six months should probably avoid making travel plans to afflicted counties or surrounding areas. It’s certainly worth consulting a doctor first.
Lastly, if this humble blogger may dispense some unscientific personal advice, Christmas in Florida should always be canceled.